The race is still on, but the goals have shifted.

Or is it “the game is on, but the rules have changed?”
Anyway, here is an observation from a week of PhotoPlus Expo:

Simply, high megapixel count means something for certain photo situations. But what a lot of photographers want is all about the sensor. Less noise, higher sensitivity (low light) fast processing in camera.

Wedding photogs are feeling that the higher megapixel count only means more money for storage, media cards, etc., and their needs are taken care of in the 12 megapixel range.
Faster computers are also needed to work with the files in a time efficient manner. One photog estimated about 200 Gb of storage needed per assignment.
Honestly, the higher megapixel count works perfect for the portraits of groups of large people.

But for the most part, high quality in low light is the goal right now.
And who wouldn’t want that?

And they are getting there, these camera companies.
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Last night had a chance to work (play) with the new D3 and D300 from Nikon.

In a club, with very little light, yes Paris was showing up, the D3 was focusing and exposing like nothing I had seen before. With 51 points focusing points, your eye was never distracted by all of them. You only saw the critical points. And it was fast, accurate and easy to adjust. We all have settings for images we prefer. As in the previous models, you can set the menu items you use most in one convenient page or two.
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The feel of the unit was outstanding. Standard, solid feel with a grip that was ergonomically sound and fit like a glove. A bit heavy, but that’s the Nikon standard we have come to expect.
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Although we had no computers to take the critical look at the files, on the large LCD screen on board, I blew up the jpeg as far as I could and wow.
The noise reduction in this model is better than previous models by far. Grain, sure, but no color artifacts. Saves you a noise ninja step right there. If you shoot for a living, time is totally money and if you can save a step and get higher quality right out of the camera, that’s a big win.

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One feature that has not been touted much is the 2 CF slots. You can program them to either be a direct copy, overflow or separate RAW and jpegs. So each card has it’s own format of the same image.

There is also an airplane style cockpit leveling screen which side to side will help you get a straighter image. Of course there is live view in 2 modes, like the other guys. To be able to see depth of field/ exposure changes on an LCD screen is a nice, although not critical feature.

The D3 takes all of your AI lenses and will adjust the crop for DX lenses too so everyone can be happy.

So lets recap: better noise reduction than previously, excellent auto focus, outstanding quality at high ISO’s, very backward compatible for lenses, back-up right on the camera, UDMA, and fast image processing on board. Nikon did a great job here. And I’m sure I’m only discussing 20% of the key features here.

Shortly we’ll post up the real world video of the D3 and the D300 for you.

So what do you prefer?
More megapixels or better image processing?
OK, don’t all answer at once…..BOTH!

Cheers!
Damon Webster

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